The Columbian Squires is the official youth organization of the Knights of Columbus. Squires is dedicated to promoting service and the Catholic faith – while providing opportunities for fun and leadership training to young Catholic men throughout the world. As an organization of more than 1300 circles with nearly 25,000 Catholic youth members, the Columbian Squires is making a difference in the world and in the Church.
The Squires are active in Canada, the United States, the Philippines, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Guam. The Columbian Squires program gives young men leadership training and the spiritual and moral guidance that they need to succeed in life. Catholic young men between the ages of 10 and 18 are eligible for membership. Local units of the Squires, called Circles, are modeled after Knights of Columbus Councils.
Sponsoring a Circle means establishing an advisory board to assist the Circle by providing a meeting place and providing adult supervision and leadership. The last two responsibilities belong to the Knights that work directly with the Squires as Counselors. Every Circle has four main activity committees - spiritual, service, circle and membership. Squires operate these committees under the supervision of the Counselors.
The committees organize a wide range of activities such as volunteering at soup kitchens, raising funds for children’s hospitals, praying for religious vocations, cleaning up city parks, social activities and membership recruitment drives. Squires raise money for charity through different methods, such as raffles, benefit breakfasts, car washes, sports tournaments and coin collections. Squires get to know one another better as friends by going on camping trips, attending sporting events or sponsoring other activities for young people.
Communities and Parishes benefit from having a Circle in their midst, as they are the recipients of the presence and energy of youth and the service programs conducted by the Squires. For the young men who become Squires, a Circle helps them grow into leaders with a deep love of the Catholic faith.
At the annual meeting to the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus held in Atlantic City in August 1922 the Most Reverend Thomas J Walsh, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, made a plea to the Knights of Columbus to enter the field of boy work. He said, “If the Knights of Columbus will take care of the growing boy, then the boy grown into manhood will take care not only of the Knights of Columbus, but the Church and the nation as well.”
The sincerity and urgency of the Archbishop’s request prompted then Supreme Knight James A Flaherty to name a special committee headed by then Deputy Supreme Knight Martin H Carmody to study the feasibility of organizing a junior order.
At the same time that the Knights were setting up their special committee, Brother Barnabas McDonald, FSC, a Christian Brother regarded by many to be an expert in the field of youth apostolate, was working on a proposition for the Knights of Columbus to become involved in the field of boy welfare.
Brother Barnabas’ plan included formation of an elite group of boy leaders as the junior organization of the Knights of Columbus. His plan was brought to the attention of the Knights’ special committee, which eagerly approved the proposal and recommended its adoption at the June 1923 meeting of the Board of Directors. This recommendation was formally adopted at the Supreme Council meeting in Montreal in August 1923. Two years later, on August 4, 1925 , the first Columbian Squires Circle – Duluth Circle 1, Duluth Minnesota was instituted in ceremonies that highlight the Knights of Columbus’ annual convention.
In 1926, the first Circle was instituted in Canada , Montreal Circle #3. This was sponsored by Council #284. In 1960, “Operation Rose” was set up. A sterling silver rose was brought by Canadian Squires to American Squires, relayed to Mexican Squires and delivered to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where a special Mass was celebrated on December 12 and the rose was permanently ensconced.
BENEFITS TO COUNCILS WHO SPONSOR A SQUIRES CIRCLE
Squires continues the connection between youth and the Church that was fostered as children by their parents Squires teaches the young men how to take responsibility for their actions as individuals and leaders Squires provides growth in areas such as decision making, delegation of responsibility, administration, public speaking, public relations, record-keeping, financial responsibility, and program promotion. Squires teaches the young men that there are people in the community that need assistance and by working with their Circle and the Knights of Columbus Council, learn the first lesson of the Knights of Columbus--charity.
Sponsoring a Circle offers the opportunity to conduct meaningful youth programming that also satisfies the Youth Activities requirement for the Knights’ Columbian Award. Circles provide a training ground for future Knights because, upon turning 18 years old, Squires are eligible for Knights of Columbus membership. Fathers of Squires who are not yet Knights are also potential members.
Sponsoring a Circle will help form a connection between the youth of the parish, schools and the community with the Knights of Columbus through the Basketball Free Throw, the Soccer Challenge, Altar Serving and other activities directed towards youth.
By sponsoring a Squires Circle, young men could be identified if having a special calling to the priesthood and could be mentored and encouraged. The personal satisfaction that you will receive knowing that you have mentored a young man to achieve his full potential.
To enquire about sponsoring a Squires Circle, or for more information on the program please visit the Official Website of the Ontario Columbian Squires at www.ontariosquires.com or contact Joe Bodnar, State Squires Chairman - firstname.lastname@example.org